Street theatre staged in Dhaka for strengthening tobacco control law

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Dhaka, February 4, 2024 (Sunday):

Development Organization of the Rural Poor (DORP) Youth Forum has staged a street theatre titled “Strengthened Tobacco Control Law for a Cancer-Free Bangladesh” on Sunday (4 February 2024) marking World Cancer Day 2024 as part of implementing the Prime Minister’s pledge to make Bangladesh tobacco-free by 2040.

Through the event, DORP Youth Forum informed the public about the cancer risk of using tobacco products. At the same time, the need to amend and strengthen the existing tobacco control law to achieve a cancer-free Bangladesh was highlighted.

According to International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), only in 2022, 20 million new cancer patients were diagnosed in the world and 9.7 million people died. Among them, the number of lung cancer cases and deaths is the highest.

The World Health Organization has identified smoking as the leading cause of lung cancer. According to the organization, the risk of dying from cancer can be prevented by 30-50 percent by taking certain steps, including avoiding tobacco use. Strengthening tobacco control law is one of the ways to reduce the prevalence of tobacco.

Among the recent recommendations made by the Ministry of Health to strengthen the existing tobacco control laws and align them with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are the abolition of designated smoking areas in all public places and public transport for the protection of non-smokers, ban on promotion of tobacco products at points of sale, ban on tobacco companies’ corporate social responsibility activities, ban on import, manufacture, use and marketing of e-cigarettes or emerging heated tobacco products, ban on all forms of retail and open sale of tobacco products and increase in graphical health warning size from 50% to 90%.

Ms. Tania Sultana, Information Officer, Directorate of Youth Development and Mr Md Abdus Salam Mia, Program Manager, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) Bangladesh spoke in a short discussion on the occasion of Cancer Day 2024 after the end of the play. They expressed solidarity with the demands of the DORP Youth Forum and urged all concerned parties to take initiative to strengthen the Tobacco Control Law quickly to protect public health.

DORP has been involved in various development programs since 1987 and is best known for introducing maternity allowance. In line with this, DORP is currently working on strengthening the Tobacco Control Law and raising tobacco taxes and implementing various projects to achieve the government’s sustainable development goals.